I am the proud owner of a brand new Samsung Chromebook that my wife so generously left for me under the Christmas tree. Clearly I’m a lucky man, for more than one reason.
There’s no shortage of Chromebook reviews on the internet, and you’re likely to get more out of them than you will by reading this, but I thought I’d put my initial thoughts on paper nonetheless.
The Samsung Chromebook is an attractive little machine. I didn’t know what to expect, but it surprisingly small and light. It has a nice 11.6-inch LED HD screen, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of drive storage. That’s not a lot of physical storage, but it has an SD card slot and comes with 100 GB of free Google Drive storage for 2 years. What’d you expect, it is a cloud based device after all.
My new Chromebook was stupid easy to setup. I simply turned it on and logged into my Google account. When I opened the browser – which is the entire computing experience in this case – all my familiar extensions, bookmarks, etc were all exactly where they should be an ready for use. I’ve been an avid Google user for quite some time so everything feels pretty natural. Browsing the internet, interacting with social media, and so on is exactly the same as it is on any other computer.
I’ve already had people ask me about using a “cloud-based computer” and what happens when you lose connectivity. Well, it’s a lot like using any other laptop when you don’t have WiFi connectivity. Google has done a good job of making certain functionality available when you’re offline. I’m able to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentation while offline. I’m also able to manage my email and calendar. As soon as I’m able to hop back online everything syncs up as it should. In addition there is a section of the Google Web Store that contains applications for use when offline.
Battery life is as advertised, i.e. it’s great. Not exactly scientific but I started using the Chromebook on and off around 11:00am on Christmas Eve morning, December 24 and didn’t need to recharge it until this morning about 9:00am. So I got a couple of good days use on a single charge. Not continuous use mind you, but my typical couch surfing, emailing, social media type sessions. In comparison my work laptop would require three charges over the same period of time with equivalent usage.
The keyboard is solid on the Chromebook. I’m composing this post on it and haven’t had any problems. Spacing is good and there’s no flex when I type. Overall, it’s a good experience. I will say that I find it odd that the keyboard is missing some keys that I use quite often: home, delete, page up and page down. That will take some time to get used to.
The only major complaint that I have is regarding the touchpad. I hate it. I prefer physical buttons on my touchpads. I like to rest the fingers on my left hand on the buttons and drive with my right. The Chromebook has a multi-touch touchpad, which means that it registers my hands as multi-touch. Go figure. It’s not a deal breaker for me, but so far I’ve found it quite irritating.
That’s it, my initial thoughts on the Chromebook. I’ll be using it as my daily driver while I’m on vacation so I should have more to report in another week.